According to the American Dental Association, you should attend routine examinations and cleanings at an interval set by your dentist. Many individuals successfully preserve their teeth and gums with six-month hygiene appointments, while others may necessitate more frequent visits. While professional cleanings are necessary for achieving optimal oral health, proper brushing and flossing is key to maintaining oral hygiene between appointments. Dr. John Goodman and his Kansas City, MO team can demonstrate proper brushing and flossing techniques to help patients keep their smiles healthy.
The Importance of Home Dental Care
Oral bacteria are responsible for the development of tooth decay, which can wreak havoc on your oral health. The microbes in your mouth feed on the plaque and tartar that accumulate on the teeth. This process creates acids which can erode your enamel, making the teeth more vulnerable to cavities and dental damage.
In addition to having a negative effect on the teeth, oral bacteria can take a toll on your gums as well. When plaque is not routinely removed, the bacteria that feed on it will begin to irritate your soft tissues, causing inflamed gums.
Both tooth decay and gum disease can be prevented with proper home care.
This first stage of gum disease, known as gingivitis, will worsen without treatment, resulting in periodontitis. Once the disease reaches this point, the bacteria seep. below the gum line. The resulting infection will slowly erode the supporting jawbone, creating pockets around the teeth roots. If the condition is left untreated, it could affect the stability of your teeth and eventually cause tooth loss.
Both tooth decay and gum disease can be prevented with proper home care. By removing plaque, tartar, and other irritants from the teeth, you are giving yourself the best chance for long-term optimal oral health.
How to Brush Properly
First and foremost, patients should always use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Medium or hard brushes can erode the enamel that protects the teeth and also cause the gum tissue to wear thin. We recommend brushing with an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste to keep your enamel strong and resilient.
When brushing, be sure to access all tooth surfaces. Once this is complete, angle the toothbrush toward the gum line at a 45-degree angle and brush back and forth. This will help sweep away harmful bacteria and keep your soft tissues healthy.
Brushing should take you at least two minutes – longer in most cases. If it is helpful to do so, you can set a timer or buy an electric toothbrush with one built in.
How to Floss Properly
Flossing is just as important as brushing when it comes to maintaining your oral health. Think about it: A tooth has four sides and a chewing surface. Even if you brush diligently twice a day, you are only cleaning half of your teeth if you fail to floss. Oral bacteria, tartar, and debris can accumulate in the spaces between the teeth. Removing these irritants regularly is essential.
Begin with a piece of floss about 18 inches long. Wrap the ends around your middle fingers and use your index fingers and thumbs to guide the floss between the teeth. Next, wrap the floss in a “C” shape around one tooth and move it up and down several times. Reach as far into the gum line as you can without causing discomfort. Next, wrap the floss around the neighboring tooth and repeat these steps.
Flossing under Bridges
Patients who have dental bridges will require specialized flossing aides to clean underneath them. Two of the most common tools include floss threaders and interproximal brushes. During your cleaning appointment, your hygienist can recommend an at-home regimen and demonstrate proper flossing techniques.
Contact Our Practice to Learn More
To learn more about proper brushing and flossing, schedule a consultation at our practice. You can contact us online anytime or give us a call at (816) 842-8585.